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Dispatch From New Orleans

Josh Levin, Slate, Sept. 8

As I drive into New Orleans on the West Bank Expressway, the bruised-looking Superdome is on my left, and an abandoned, 10-foot boat sits on the shoulder to my right. Straight ahead is a phalanx of guys in fatigues. They’re pointing the kinds of guns that could put a Dodge Stratus-sized hole in my Dodge Stratus. I hold up the plastic card that says I’m a writer, and they let me go. Seconds later, I’m driving over the Mississippi River on the Crescent City Connection Bridge and headed into the city.


Kirby Gee, who owns the house, works as a bartender at Miss Mae’s down the street. He says the bar did pretty good business even through last Wednesday — the cops kept them in shotgun shells as long as they kept pouring drinks. Gee says the police taught everyone around here how to loot. They were the first to bust into the grocery store down the street and the Wal-Mart a mile or so up the road. He also says they took to breaking into car lots in the days after the storm and driving off with brand-new Escalades. I’m not sure whether to believe him, until a cop car drives buy towing what looks like a mint-condition Corvette Stingray. “And these are the people telling us to evacuate,” says one of the porch dwellers. Every time a Humvee rolls by, a few of the guys make sure to flash the peace sign.


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Jerry Seper, Washington Times, Sept. 9

More than 220 looting suspects and others accused of violence in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have been taken to a makeshift city jail known as “Camp Greyhound,” the New Orleans bus terminal, to await transfer to out-of-town prisons.


While the vast majority of those being processed through the terminal are accused of looting, one of the men brought to the site was Wendell L. Bailey, charged with shooting at a rescue helicopter seeking to aid people trapped at the Superdome. Others were named on charges of attempted murder and attempted rape.


Meanwhile, authorities have yet to identify five men reportedly killed by police on a New Orleans bridge after they shot at U.S. Army contractors on their way to help plug a breach in a city canal. None of the contractors was injured.

In the Mississippi Gulf Coast, more than 100 people have been arrested as looting suspects. Most of them are being held at a detention center near Gulfport.


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Original article

(Posted on September 9, 2005)

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